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While Trump’s supporters have often rallied to his side in the face of legal trouble, it remains unclear whether the criminal referrals approved by a House committee Monday will have the same effect. The panel voted to send the former president’s criminal campaign and obstruction of an official proceeding referrals to the Justice Department for review.
The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill approved the criminal referrals at its final public meeting Monday, releasing an executive summary of its final report. The committee’s investigation found evidence that Trump and his allies carried out a multi-part plan to reverse the election results and keep him in office. The effort included a sustained pressure campaign against Pence, state lawmakers and election officials that culminated in the Jan. 6 insurrection and the attempt to enter the Capitol.
In approving the criminal referrals, the committee pointed to new details about a series of attempts by Trump allies to seek pardons as the investigations closed. It also noted that many of the witnesses interviewed were subject to an avalanche of death and rape threats and other intimidation that led them to fear for their lives, while others reported being afraid to leave home. The committee’s summary also points to the fact that several Republican lawmakers downplayed or defended the Jan. 6 incident or defended the actions of their colleagues.
The committee’s summary will be followed this week by the release of full transcripts of interviews with the two witnesses who were granted limited immunity in exchange for their testimony. In particular, the committee is releasing the transcript of a September interview with ex-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. It includes her account of how Trump yelled at her in the car when he was told he would not be taken to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Rep. Jennifer Murphy, one of the lame-duck Democrats seated on the committee, joined Kinzinger in announcing this year that she won’t seek another term. She cited an onslaught of death and rape threats that she received during the course of the panel’s investigation as one reason for her decision. However, she said she is “not done with public service” and will continue her work on election integrity and voter enfranchisement. She will serve on the Democratic Caucus’ Democracy and Voter Protection Program. The committee also is considering sanctions against five GOP lawmakers who refused to comply with subpoenas and will release a summary of the reasons for their refusals on Friday. The sanctions could include a loss of pay and committee staffers’ privilege to travel on House business.